People: Clarion, Lithgow Perkins, YMSS, Andrew Jackson

Clarion has appointed new partner Rachel Spencer Robb, who will be heading up its family law team.

Rachel brings over 25 years’ experience in family and matrimonial law, supporting families on a range of issues, across Yorkshire and the UK. Rachel held an associate role at Clarion in the early days of her career and returns to lead the team she started in.

Having worked primarily on matrimonial finances, advising on wealth preservation, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, as well as complex private children matters, Rachel has a proven track record of running a family law team and has been integral in building successful client relationships.

A former accredited meditator and collaborative law practitioner, Rachel has been consistently ranked in nationwide legal directories, Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners. Rachel is also a member of Resolution, a community of family justice professionals committed to the constructive resolution of family disputes, and is accredited as an advanced member of the Law Society Family Law Panel.

Her appointment will bring further expertise to a team that has already established a strong national reputation, ranking as Tier 1 in the Legal 500. The team at Clarion advise on a range of family matters including divorce and civil partnership dissolution, as well as financial support for children and dispute resolution.

The single-site Leeds-based firm supports a range of corporate and private clients both nationally and internationally. The appointment comes as Clarion continues its mission to create an entrepreneurial environment for the best legal talent across the region. Rachel is the second senior appointment of 2024, with 62 team members having joined the firm in 2023.

Rachel said, “I’ve seen how the firm has grown, while the culture has remained the heart of the firm. I know how hard this is to do, while delivering top tier client work – this was one of the key reasons I decided to return.”

Roger Hutton, joint managing partner at Clarion, said, “We’re really pleased to welcome Rachel back to the team. The family team have worked hard to become nationally recognised for the trusted support, advice and expertise it offers to its clients, and we’ve no doubt Rachel will continue to help the team grow from strength to strength, to support Clarion’s national growth strategy in the process.”


Harrogate accountancy firm Lithgow Perkins has promoted Stuart Abbott to partner.

Formerly the company’s trusts and tax manager, Stuart will work alongside partner Joe Taylor on tax advice and planning for current and new clients.

He will also be developing sister company LP Probate Services, as well as supporting the next generation of accountants undertaking an apprenticeship at the firm.

A former student of King James’s School in Knaresborough, Stuart joined Lithgow Perkins as a trainee in 2004. After completing his AAT and ACA qualifications in 2012, he developed a specialism in personal tax, trusts and estates.

He said: “Lithgow Perkins has always been a great place to work and build my career in accountancy, so I am delighted to become a partner.”

Stuart is the latest employee to progress to partner level after joining the independent firm as a trainee. Last year, former apprentices Tom Lowry and Tom Rhodes joined Robert Horner, Mike Briggs and Joe Taylor in leading the company.

Joe said: “As a long-standing company, Lithgow Perkins recognises the importance to its future of investing in the career development of our junior staff members.

“Stuart is a great example of the success of this approach. He has become an invaluable part of our team. He has outstanding knowledge and expertise in his specialist areas, and strong and trusted relationships with many of our clients. His promotion is thoroughly deserved.”


West Yorkshire Manufacturing Services (WYMS) is pleased to announce the appointment of Leigh Fleming to the charity’s board of trustees.

Leigh has a strong background in engineering and is currently the head of department for engineering in the School of Computing and Engineering at The University of Huddersfield. Her current research interests include application for metrology to novel surface characterisation, in particular with skin interfaces, wound care, pressure area care and pressure ulcer prevention. She is also active in developing research around the integration of predictive health maintenance systems in SMART homes for improved health outcomes.

WYMS, based in Brighouse, is a charity established to support the manufacturing and engineering industry across West Yorkshire and is led by the Board of Trustees. The charity aims to skill, up-skill and re-skill the sector’s existing and future workforce, encourage young people into the sector, through events such as National Manufacturing Day and support the development and growth of manufacturing businesses.

Andrew Denford, Chair of the Trustees said, “Leigh is a fantastic addition to our board and we look forward to working with her. She brings with her a wealth of engineering experience and skills development gained at universities across Yorkshire.”

Leigh said, “I am delighted to join the Board of Trustees. I really value the ethos of supporting the future of Engineering and Manufacturing particularly in the West Yorkshire region and I’m passionate about inspiring the future generation of manufacturing professionals to drive innovation and skills development.”


Regional law firm Andrew Jackson Solicitors has appointed Gavin Farquhar as a partner in its shipping and transport practice.

Gavin – who is dual Scottish and English law qualified – has over 30 years’ broad experience acting nationally and internationally for a range of businesses operating in the marine and shipping industry, particularly in the energy field. His expertise includes charterparties, the sale and purchase of vessels, vessel construction, as well as floating production storage and offloading vessel service agreements.

Having been involved in shipping work since the inception of the offshore oil industry to the UK, Gavin has acted for numerous developers of – and vessel suppliers to – offshore wind projects, oil field operators and supply companies, commercial fishing businesses, ferry companies, port authorities and multipurpose ship charterers and owners.

Gavin has a wealth of specialist experience around the fishing and hydrocarbons industries in the Falkland Islands, along with advising businesses based in Ireland, West Africa and the Middle East, especially in relation to vessel purchases. Shipbuilding contracts and charterparties for vessels destined for work on Offshore Wind projects, including vessels with hybrid engines, has been an area of significant growth recently.

Gavin said, “I am delighted to be joining a team with such an enviable and longstanding reputation in the maritime sector. I very much look forward to helping develop the practice in the areas I have focused on, especially in the energy sector.”

Dominic Ward, senior partner and head of shipping and transport, added: “We have had cases on with Gavin in the past, particularly in relation to the Falkland Islands, and have first hand knowledge of his valuable experience and expertise.

“We are delighted to welcome Gavin to Andrew Jackson; I know that he will be a valuable addition to our team and help to ensure we continue to deliver the highest standards of client service.”